Tags: hacking | point of sale | united nations

After Point-of-Sale Case, How Should Countries Disincentivize Hacking?

Image: After Point-of-Sale Case, How Should Countries Disincentivize Hacking?
(Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images)

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Monday, 08 May 2017 11:48 AM Current | Bio | Archive

If we thought the danger from cyber interference from Russia was just limited to attempting to influence American election results, the case of Roman Seleznev should come as a sobering wake-up call to the average American. Seleznev was sentenced last month to a 27-year prison term for causing more than $169 million in damage by hacking into point-of-sale computers.

He was caught with a laptop that had more than 1.7 million credit card numbers on it. Seleznev wound up being found guilty on 38 counts of crimes ranging from wire fraud to intentional damage to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft.

The harsh sentence was brought down because, according to prosecutors, he was "a pioneer" who revolutionized the market for stolen credit card data as he "became one of the most revered point-of-sale hackers in the criminal underworld." The credit card and identity theft operation was run from Seleznev’s homes in Bali, Indonesia, and Vladivostok, Russia. He then sold the millions of credit card numbers he acquired on the black market, causing crippling financial damage to both small businesses and large financial institutions.

Seleznev is the son of Vladimir Putin ally Valery Seleznev. His conviction was the result of a 10-year-long investigation by the U.S. Secret Service. Russian officials had described Roman Seleznev’s 2014 arrest in the Maldives as a "kidnapping."

With all controversy surrounding the Russian interference in our last presidential election and the real-world damage being caused by these financial crimes, American intelligence agencies need to get ahead of this new wave of chaos. Based on what we already know has happened, our vulnerability to international espionage is obvious. Government entities and private organizations need to step up protections to prevent both domestic and foreign entities from maliciously steering the direction of America politically as well as causing potentially billions in financial damage to our economy.

Perhaps Harsher Penalties for Offenders Is the Answer

Sentencing guidelines in America as well as internationally should be evaluated to dissuade this type of criminality in the future. The Seleznev sentence was a good starting point and sends a message that America will not tolerate this going forward. A new and stronger policy of mandatory minimums for cybercrimes against both private and government entities should be a consideration for congress this legislative session. America should first evaluate the threats domestically and then perhaps look to lead an international cooperative consisting of the intelligence and crime enforcement agencies from our closest allies.

Since the landscape and possibilities are truly global in regards to the execution of and enforcement of laws against hacking and with all the real time technological advances perhaps it’s time for the G8 countries or even the United Nations to reexamine their policies and requirements of member countries level of vigilance on these matters.

The G8 has not issued a specific directive on these matters since 1997 when they released a Ministers' Communiqué that included an action plan and principles to combat cybercrime and protect data and systems from unauthorized impairment. In addition to the somewhat antiquated Ministers’ Communiqué, the G8 also mandates that all law enforcement personnel must be trained and equipped to address cybercrime, and has ordered all member countries to have a point of contact available on a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week-basis. The United Nations has not issued a new resolution on the criminal use of information technology since 2002. It issued its first resolution on computer crime legislation back in 1990.

As advanced as information technology and networking has become, it is still very early in its overall history. Periodic review is vital towards the protection of governments, private businesses, and the common citizen.

Julio Rivera is an entrepreneur, small business consultant and political activist. He contributes to RightWingNews.com and NewsNinja2012.com, and had previously covered boxing and baseball for the now defunct "The Urban News" in his native Paterson, N.J. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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JulioRivera
If we thought the danger from cyber interference from Russia was just limited to attempting to influence American election results, the case of Roman Seleznev should come as a sobering wake-up call to the average American.
hacking, point of sale, united nations
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2017-48-08
Monday, 08 May 2017 11:48 AM
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